Following the completion of my PhD in 2015 at the University of Sydney, in 2016 I took up the position of Junior Research Fellow in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at Durham University.
I am currently involved in three research projects.
The first of these is a monograph which constitutes the first detailed examination of Plato's presentation of immortality in the Symposium. This presentation is quite different from the familiar metaphysical models of immortality in other dialogues, which concern either the 'essential immortality' of the soul, or the 'achieved immortality' that comes from identifying oneself with, and nurturing the rational part of one's soul. The immortality of the Symposium, by contrast, is one that is gained through leaving behind tokens or memorials (particularly in the form of poetic or, ideally, philosophical logoi) that secure the 'memory of one's virtue'. These logoi in turn inspire others towards virtuous action. This is, then, not a 'personal' or a 'subjective' immortality, but one which occurs through reproducing one's virtuous ethos through the generations. That is to say, one 'lives on' in others through making them relevantly similar to oneself.
The aims of this project are twofold. First, I situate the presentation of immortality in the Symposium within the broader field of ancient Greek thought, and particularly in reference to the epic concept of 'kleos' ('glory' or 'fame'). In Homer's epics heroes forego that which is otherwise most valuable to them - their lives - in order to persist in the world as objects of memory; their 'social selves' are preserved through the medium of song, and these social selves capture a narrative of a life lived in accordance with an heroic ethos. The second part constitutes a close examination of the presentation of immortality in the Symposium, in which I argue that Plato both appropriates and transforms Homer's account of the social self. Plato takes from Homer the idea that we can continue to exist in the world as objects of memory, captured in either poetic of philosophical logoi, which capture the memory of one's virtue - to be understood not as discrete actions, but as a narrative of living well; an ethos - which in turn inspire others towards the 'reproduciton' of this virtue in themselves. However this virtue will be a properly philosophical one, in which successive generations are asked to commit themselves to the philosophical life, that is a life directed towards the pursuit of knowledge concerning the good, and the possession of true virtue.
The second research project with which I am involved is entitled 'Aspects of Death and the Afterlife in Ancient Greece' with Dr. George Gazis (Durham - Classics), an interdisciplinary project in which we explore the influences, intersections, and developments of understandings of the Underworld between authors of various intellectual traditions, including poets, philosophers, theologians, and historiographers. Following our hosting of an international conference in July 2016, we are currently under contract with Liverpool University Press to produce an edited volume on this topic.
I am also an organiser of the Department of Classics and Ancient History's 2018-19 Departmental Research Project, entitled 'Plato on Comedy'. My co-organisers are Dr. Sarah Miles (Durham - Classics), Assoc. Prof. Andrea Capra (Durham - Classics), Dr. George Gazis (Durham - Classics), as well as Ms. Eliza Petrow and Ms. Poppy Steel-Swayne. This project aims to offer the first systematic investigation of Plato's treatment of comedy and the comic in the dialogues, and will take a uniquely interdisciplinary approach to this issue, drawing on the expertise both of philosophers and classicists working on topics including Plato's poetics, the wider philosophical reception of comedy in the philosophical tradition, and comedy itself. In doing so we hope to illuminate the full richness and complexity of Plato's treatment of comedy, and situate Plato's treatment of comedy within a broader history of development of the comic tradition. We aim to hold a number of events over the 2018-19 academic year, including lecture series, reading groups, a workshop in March 2019, with the major outcomes being an international conference in July 2019, from which we hope to produce an edited volume. If you are interested in being involved in this project, please email me or one of the co-organisers.
My research more generally concerns the way in which ancient philosophers (and particularly Plato and the Presocratics) appropriate and exploit cultural ideas, traditions, and discourses, and adapt and reconstruct them in ways that produce forms that are distinctly philosophical. To this end I have published articles concerning ancient philosopher's use of myth, their appropriation of comedy, and religious ideas. Full details of my publications please consult my CV.
In addition to ancient philosophy, I am also interested in aesthetics, Nietzsche, German Idealism (and particularly Hegel), ethics, and bioethics.
In addition to my research, I also have a great passion for teaching. My teaching interests are diverse, and my areas of focus are ancient philosophy, aesthetics, ethics, and bioethics. Throughout my teaching career I have become greatly interested in the learning experience at the tertiary level, particularly in how one can teach effectively in a university context, and concerning the best way that students can be guided in pursuing their own learning.